Silence in the Dark Tower
By Wraith
August 17, 3019

Silence. Deafening silence.

"What do you fear most of all, Morgul Lord?"

"Your disapproval, my Lord," the Witch-King of Angmar quietly replies.

The hooded figure on the Dark Throne says nothing for a while. Then Sauron speaks again. "Then your fears have come to pass."

Crushing waves of despair pour down upon the Witch-King like millions of leaden weights, dragging him down, down into oblivion.

"Angmar..." The tone of the Voice from the Dark Throne now sounds hurt unbearably to the depths of his soul. Angmar's shame intensifies, until his only desire is that his essence fade slowly like a mist and creep somewhere far into darkness, away out of sight. The guilt was unbearable, the shame, the humiliation. Yes, he had failed again. How many times over the centuries had he done so before?

"Why did you bring me pain?" the Dark Lord asks. The Witch-King's fëa seems to fragment into splinters of ice that glowed a dark light in the reflection of the power of the maia's spiritual aura.

"My King...." the Morgul Lord falls to his knees before Sauron, and then down, face forward and grovels before him. "Forgive me. Forgive me, Mighty One."

Sauron rises to his feet and towers above the Morgul Lord. He looks down, seeming now a being of light and beneficence. "Rise, Angmar. Always your Lord forgives you, although you are not deserving of it."

The Morgul Lord rises to his feet. "My gratitude, Great One."

"Angmar, your Ring... Perhaps I should hold it once again.

"So soon, Lord? But it has been such a short time..." Angmar feels that his heart, his soul, his mind, his will are being crushed.... so soon to lose his Ring again. He had had it for such a little while.

The Dark Lord responds, "You will stay here with Me for thirty days.... you need time to reflect upon your miscalculations.... and then perhaps after that time....your ring will come back to you. Angmar, although you have failed Me yet again, I still have work for you to do...."

Although Sauron could humiliate him, degrade him, tear his will, his mind, the essence of his being into shreds, still, Angmar was bound to the Dark Lord for all eternity, and his only desire was to do his Master's will. "As you wish, Sire. Always You honor me."

"Morgul Lord, summon the others, then go to your chambers and come forth again when next I call you."

"As You will, my King." Then he bows, turns and leaves the Great Hall.

The Great Hall is silent once again as the Eight enter and bow before the Dark Lord. Slowly, as a rebuking father, Sauron speaks to them. "Why have you failed Me once again?" No reply is given and they stand with bowed heads.

"Khamûl, come forth," the Voice commands. "Your Brothers and I await to hear your answer. Speak unto us."

Slowly in silence, Khamûl approaches the Dark Lord's throne and again bows deeply. "Great One, there is no excuse. My failure is great."

"You, Khamûl, second in power, second in choosing, your transgressions are many. Too many times has your mind dallied and failed in its reckoning. For your own benefit, you must be chastized."

Guilt, shame and fear in rushing waves lash Khamûl's fëa. Great piercing claws seem to tear into his flesh, first plowing fiery gashes and then seperating sinew from bone, undoing the spell that binds them. He can feel blood bursting forth from a hundred different gouges.

"You have displeased Me. Now learn from your punishment." Khamûl sees himself dying, falling into a pool of his own blood and lying there with his head in the gore, the taste filling his mouth. He tries to crawl forward through the blood, reaching, grasping, struggling to touch the steel-toed boot of his Master in a final gesture of devotion.

"Forgive me," he gasps.

"Khamûl, I forgive you as I always have before, but never again recompense My blessings with sloth. You are no longer worthy to wear your Ring. I will hold it once again in My keeping until you are. Thirty days must you remain with Me and learn not to repeat your folly. Arise, Khamûl, and take your place at the side of the wall, and never forget this chastizement."

His mind and senses still dazed, Khamûl gets to his feet and bows deeply. "My thanks to You, Great Lord, for Your kindness and mercy to Your servant. The lesson will be remembered and I will never fail again," he says, and then stumbles to his place along the wall, disgraced and humiliated before his brothers.

And then the remaining ones, each in his turn, are dealt their punishment, each meted out in the measure according to the offense.

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